Battle Arena Toshinden 3
The first game I ever purchased for my shiny new PlayStation was Battle Arena Toshinden. I loved that game -- it was what 32 bits of power was all about. The best part was Battle Arena Toshinden was one of the first games to ever be released for the PSX. The future looked to be incredibly bright for this unknown system and Toshinden looked like it was going to be a large part of the PlayStation's early success.
Years later, it's funny how things are not always as you remembered them. Not too long ago, I decided to pop in the original Battle Arena Toshinden . It didn't play as well as I'd remembered, and it did not really compare to some of the newer titles on the market. Now we have Toshinden 3. It doesn't eclipse all other versions of Toshinden or any other fighting game I have ever played, but I can say that it does have its moments.
Toshinden 3 has the same basic story of the previous two versions, but the major difference is in the arenas themselves. In the past, you were fighting in a predefined area. If you were knocked out of the ring, you lost the fight. Toshinden 3 revamped this whole concept and sticks you in an enclosed arena that allows the fighters to use the walls, floor, and ceiling to their advantage. I really liked this. It changed the whole complexion of the fights.
Another difference in Toshinden 3 is the new use of multi-hit combos, ala Street Fighter. Before I go any farther, I need to say that I really don't like Street Fighter. That should give you an inclination on my feelings toward this new addition: I don't like 27-hit combos and think it's ridiculous. In my mind, a good fighting game tries to stay as close to reality as possible. Now, I don't have a problem with some moves that are a bit out there, but you will never convince me that a 27-hit combo is anything but a terrible exaggeration. I think that when the multi-hit combos first showed up, if you pulled off a 5-hit combo, that was good. But, the first game to borrow the multi-hit combo idea decided to one up the 5-hit combo with a 10-hit combo, and so on. Come on, guys, stick to good gameplay and fighting skills, not overly sensational combos that are, for the most part, ineffective.
On a more positive note, I really enjoyed the different characters available. Toshinden 3 has the potential to have up to 30 different playable characters. The game starts with 14 characters and as you beat the game with each character, a new one becomes available. The 14 original characters are all quite unique in physical appearance as well as in abilities. Each character is armed with some sort of weapon, ranging from Freddy Krueger knife fingers to giant swords, and many characters are a bit offbeat. Of these, the best character in the whole game is the monkey-man. Why, you ask? Because every time he wins, he turns around and gives the camera a big "kiss my bare monkey ass" salute. Also making honorable mention is the Michael Jackson rip-off. I never thought I would see a character in a fighting game do the moonwalk to avoid an attack.
Toshinden 3 has a varying difficulty scale that can be set from stress relief (kicking the crap out of everyone) to impossible. If you have any fighting game experience, do not play the game on the normal setting. I found that on this setting, which is the default, I was able to walk all over everyone. I would lose one out of every 20 or so fights. This was not too challenging and actually got boring after a while. If you want to have fun, crank the difficulty up a few notches.
The biggest disappointment of the game was the ending cinematics. Actually, to be more accurate, the ending non-cinematics. After battling through 16 opponents, I was looking for a cool FMV sequence or animated 3D story. What I got was a meaningless little text (not even narrated) story about the character that was basically a waste. Other fighting games on the market have set the trend of having a cool ending sequence when you beat the game with a particular character. Unfortunately, Toshinden 3 chose the multi-hit combo trend over the cool ending trend.
Toshinden 3 has decent graphics, but pales in comparison to the likes of Tekken 2. It does have a cool feature that allows you to adjust the frame rate of the game, so if you want a slower, more detailed game you can set the frame rate to 30 frames per second. If you don't really care about the backgrounds like me, crank up the frame rate to 60 frames per second. There is a noticeable difference in graphics and game speed on each setting. As far as character graphics, they are standard Toshinden fare. I will say that after two previous versions of Toshinden, I would have liked to see something a little more spectacular, but the graphics do get the job done.
The Toshinden games still hold a special place in my heart as the first PSX games I ever owned. You will have some fun with Toshinden 3, especially if you are a fan of the series. It does have a few disappointing aspects and features that should have been either left out or toned down a bit. But on the whole, it fits the series. Trust me on the monkey-man salute, too. We were laughing for hours after we first saw that. Come to think of it, this game is worth a rental just for that.
Download Battle Arena Toshinden 3
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP